Haven’t experienced enough twists with the Doc Rivers saga? Well you’re in luck.
The NBA’s latest soap opera has a new guest star: the Nuggets.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports:
Shortly after firing George Karl, the Denver Nuggets offered the Boston Celtics a first-round draft pick as compensation to pry coach Doc Rivers out of his contract, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.Nuggets CEO Josh Kroenke made a bid for Rivers approximately 10 days ago, informing general manager Danny Ainge of his willingness to part with a pick if the Nuggets were able to procure Rivers.Nevertheless, Boston wasn’t prepared to start the process of letting Rivers leave and discussions never went beyond one brief conversation between Kroenke and Ainge, league sources said.
I wonder whether Ainge regrets not exploring this offer at the time. Like all teams coming off a successful run and considering rebuilding, the Celtics are looking at trading the assets that won’t be around during the next window of contention in exchange for younger and cheaper pieces. The Celtics are a little different, though, because they’re also in position to gain helpful players and/or picks in exchange for their coach.But if David Stern blocks an arrangement with the Clippers, Boston could be left getting no return for Rivers.Unfortunately for the Celtics, it sounds like it’s too late to run back to the Nuggets – even if Denver clears the necessary step of being a desirable destination to Rivers – because the Nuggets have gone a different route. Wojnarowski:
Denver quickly moved onto its current two finalists for the job: Lionel Hollins and Brian Shaw. Both candidates made strong impressions on Kroenke and new Denver GM Tim Connelly in interviews this week, sources said.
Hollins and Shaw are both good candidates, and although Rivers might have the edge in coaching ability, I don’t believe Rivers is a first-round pick better. Why give up a valuable draft choice just to get a coach who might be better and would definitely cost a lot more?Actually, there is one answer to that question: Chris Paul. The Clippers can wisely make moves that appear foolish in a vacuum if it means re-signing Paul. They, like any team would be, are just that desperate to please their free agent superstar.And that’s why it’s in the Celtics’ best interest to find some deal that works for Los Angeles and Stern. Otherwise, they’re not getting any return for Rivers.
Your reminder that Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan are the best together.
DeRozan was asked about Lowry’s long 3-pointers after the Raptors’ win over the Timberwolves last night.
- DeRozan: “”Them shots be lucky. … To me, it’s a bad shot.”
- Lowry (off camera): “Every shot you shoot is a bad shot, analytic-wise.”
That’s not quite what the analytics say, but I won’t let the facts get in the way of a superb diss.
The Spurs fell behind by 18 and eventually lost to the Bulls, 95-91, last night – which begged the question:
Does San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich bear any responsibility for his team’s lack of early intensity?
Jabari Young of the San Antonio Express-News:
I don’t remember playing tonight. I didn’t play. Guys get a lot of money to be ready to play. No Knute Rockne speeches. It’s your job. If you’re a plumber and you don’t do your job, you don’t get any work. I don’t think a plumber needs a pep talk. If a doctor botches operations, he’s not a doctor anymore. If you’re a basketball player, you come ready. It’s called maturity. It’s your job.
Like it or not, motivation is part of an NBA coach’s job.
But that’s also precisely what Popovich is doing.
His credentials dwarf any other coach’s. He can play to his own ego and absolve himself of responsibility – and players will seek to please him. His years of success have earned him the ability to motivate this way, a method no other coach could use without alienating his team.
Once the Rockets let Donatas Motiejunas back into free agency, this was only a matter of time.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:
This sounds remarkably similar to the salaries and incentives set in the original offer sheet from the Nets. But remember, the Rockets didn’t match some of those bonuses that Brooklyn would have been bound to.
So, why not hold Motiejunas to what became a four-year, $31 million offer sheet once matched? Houston got something in return – a later trigger date on guaranteeing Motiejunas’ 2017-18 salary. Originally, that decision had to be made March 1 – which would’ve meant dropping Motiejunas from the team this season to prevent his salary from counting next season. Now, the Rockets can make that call in July, after this season is complete.
The following two Julys, Houston will also have a choice on guaranteeing Motiejunas’ upcoming salary or dropping him.
Essentially, Motiejunas is signing the most lucrative Hinkie Special in NBA history. If he plays well and stays healthy, the Rockets have Motiejunas at an affordable rate. If he struggles or his back injuries flare up, they can drop him with little to no penalty.
After they backed themselves into this corner, Motiejunas and his agent, B.J. Armstrong, didn’t do so bad. Considering the similarity between this contract and the Nets’ original offer sheet, it seems Houston helped Armstrong save face after a bungled free agency (which is easier to accept when you’re adding a talented reserve to a formidable team).
But for how little is guaranteed and how much control the Rockets hold over the next four years, wouldn’t Motiejunas have been better off accepting the $4,433,683 qualifying offer?
The Rockets had Donatas Motiejunas in a bind.
He was beholden to them on a four-year, $31 million deal and unable to sign with other teams. Motiejunas’ choices: Report for a physical or wait in limbo.
But apparently Houston has allowed him out of that constraint.
Marc Stein of ESPN:
This means Motiejunas can’t sign with the Nets, who signed him to the original offer sheet, for one year.
I bet it also means Motiejunas and Houston have agreed to a new contract. Otherwise, why release him from the offer sheet? The Rockets would be giving up a tremendous amount of leverage out of the goodness of their hearts – unless this is just a prelude to a new deal with Houston.